Candidates Shana Segal and Nicole Chiu-Wang are neck and neck in fundraising for their campaigns to serve on Palo Alto's school board, recent campaign finance disclosures show.
When the most recent filing period closed on Oct. 22, Segal reported bringing in $28,975.20 so far this year, almost tied with Chiu-Wang's $28,954.20. Chiu-Wang subsequently reported two $1,000 donations, each received on Oct. 27, bringing her total to $30,954.20. Candidates are generally required to disclose any donations of $1,000 or more within 48 hours of receiving them.
The other two candidates trail substantially behind. Incumbent Shounak Dharap reported raising $5,185 this year, plus another $1,602.34 that he started the year already having in his account. Candidates can roll money over from prior campaigns. Ingrid Campos has disclosed $6,718.16 in donations so far this year.
The current fundraising picture marks a change from the end of the prior filing period, which closed on Sept. 24. At that point, Chiu-Wang had raised the most of any candidate, with roughly $5,800 more in donations than Segal.
Over the next month, Segal caught up, bringing in an additional $11,336.20 in donations compared to Chiu-Wang's $5,556.31 (not including the most recent pair of $1,000 donations). Dharap raised $1,730 between Sept. 25 and Oct. 22, while Campos brought in $849.
The four candidates are vying for two seats on Palo Alto Unified's five-member board in the Nov. 8 general election. Each seat is for a four-year term.
In the most recent filing period, Segal received $1,000 from former Yahoo CEO and Palo Alto resident Marissa Mayer, as well as $1,000 from the California Teachers Association, the powerful educator's union. Segal is a former teacher and also has worked as a substitute in Palo Alto classrooms.
Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt also donated $500 and City Council candidate Brian Hamachek gave $100 to Segal's campaign. Other major donors include Susan Kulawik, who gave $1,000, and Katja Rault-Wang, who donated $500.
Segal's campaign also includes a number of repeat donors, including Christine Boehm, who gave $500 this filing period, as well as the same amount in the prior period. Avery Wang donated $450, on top of a prior $500 donation. Catherine Stoll, Edith Cohen, Carmela Pasternak and Daniel Guhr have each given $500 split across multiple donations this year.
Chiu-Wang's major donations in the most recent filing period include $500 contributions from James Lau, Olivia Sears, Alex Wang and a group called Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN). Chiu-Wang also received $1,000 each from Catherine and Mignon Wang on Oct. 27. She previously received support from a host of local elected officials and candidates, including City Council candidates Lisa Forssell and Julie Lythcott-Haims as well as current Palo Alto school board members Jesse Ladomirak and Jennifer DiBrienza.
Chiu-Wang disclosed giving $1,100 of her campaign's money on Oct. 26 to Lythcott-Haims' campaign. Chiu-Wang and Lythcott-Haims have endorsed each other, and Lythcott-Haims previously personally donated $1,000 to Chiu-Wang.
Of Dharap's $1,730 received in the most recent filing period, the majority came from Jeffrey Ullman, who donated $1,000.
Of Campos' $849 received between Sept. 25 and Oct. 22, $500 came from Amy Lee.
When it comes to the spending, Chiu-Wang and Segal spent $12,863.01 and $12,027.87 in the most recent filing period, respectively. Chiu-Wang spent largely on campaign literature and mailings, while Segal spent on advertising and campaign literature and mailings.
Dharap spent just $114.96 in this filing period, all on bank account fees and payment processing. Campos spent $300 on canvassing.
The next filing period runs through the end of the year and disclosure forms won't be due until Jan. 31, 2023. In the meantime, candidates do have to report any donations of $1,000 or more within 48 hours of receiving them.